Cave Dale in the Peak District is one of those hidden secrets. In a popular place, like Castleton, everyone heads for Mam Tor and the Great Ridge, which is a fantastic route. But this short circular walk includes the secret valley of Cave Dale and Mam Tor in one walk.
From the quaint village of Castleton, you walk past the cute cottages and before you know it your scenery has completely changed by simply turning up a narrow street.
Walking up Cave Dale from Castleton is a wonderful way to start your walk, with rocky terrain and luscious greenery all around as you walk uphill through the dale. Be sure to look up to your right where you’ll see Peveril Castle.
The dale then leads into green hills, with sheep and cows before you reach a track which takes you towards the base of Mam Tor. You’ve already done a good amount of ascent by the time you reach the stone path on the final uphill section to Mam Tor summit.
From the hilltop, it’s then back down via a rugged stony path, where you reach the old road, completely destroyed from the landslips in the area and then back via the fields into Castleton.
Here you will find details on how to get to the start of the walk at Castleton, parking options, route information, map, GPX file, plus a detailed step by step guide of the walk.
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Cave Dale + Mam Tor from Castleton
Cave Dale + Mam Tor walk mapClick for online map
Walk start point
Start grid reference: SK 14923 82948
Car parking address: Castleton Visitor Centre, Buxton Road, Castleton, Hope Valley, S33 8WP
Parking cost (cash only)
Up to 1 hour – £1.60
1-2 hours – £2.50
2-4 hours – £4.00
4-10 hours – £6.00
24 hours – £7.00
There’s also another car park, (Peak Cavern car park) slightly further down the road if this one is full. The charges are £5 all day (with £2 refund for Peak Cavern customers) and £3 after 6 pm. Coins and card payments accepted.
Nearest train station: Hope train station (2 mile/3 km)
There is then a bus from the main road outside the train station into Castleton village (271/272 bus). It takes about 8 minutes but they only run once an hour.
Facilities on the walk
There are public toilets available at the start of the walk at Castleton; however, they are only open 10 am to 4 pm (at the moment).
Castleton has many different shops, restaurants and pubs so if you’re looking to stop after your walk then there’s plenty to choose from. The Bull’s Head has a great outdoor space which is just along from the car park. They also do great food (I’ve eaten there a few times!)
Other useful information
Castleton in Derbyshire is one of the most popular places in the Peak District to visit, along with nearby Edale the two beautiful villages are extremely busy during peak times. If possible I’d recommend a mid-week or evening visit for a quieter walk. However, if you’re visiting at a weekend, arrive early to guarantee a car parking space.
The terrain on this walk is tricky in places, through Cave Dale it’s rocky and the path down from Mam Tor is steep with some loose stones. I’d recommend wearing hiking footwear for this walk to avoid any twisted ankles. Please read the alternative route down from Mam Tor at the bottom of the post.
Check the weather for your walk location and hills
Whilst the weather in Castleton can seem warm, once you reach the summit of Mam Tor it can be very different, at 517 metres it’s not the highest spot in the Peak District, (that’s Kinder Scout) but the summit is exposed and can be cold – pack an extra layer for the top.
- BBC Weather for Castleton
- Met Office weather for the Peak District
- Met Office weather for Mam Tor (Derbyshire)
Ordnance Survey Walk Map
And don’t forget your compass, I recommend the Silva Expedition compass
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Cave Dale + Mam Tor walk route
Stage 1 – Castleton via Cave Dale + Limestone Way
Distance: 1.7 miles/2.6 km
Grid reference SK 14923 82928
From Castleton Visitor Centre turn left from the car park and head up the road towards the Bull’s Head pub. Cross over and walk down the road next to The Castle pub, then past The George pub, until you reach a small square with Castleton war memorial.
Turn left and walk uphill to the houses, after about 50 metres you’ll see a sign for ‘Cave Dale’ which leads up between the houses. Turn right here and walk down the narrow path to reach the start of the Cave Dale walk. There’s a handy sign telling you more about the fascinating history of Cave Dale.
Walk up then through the gate, you’ll see a sign for the Limestone Way, as Cave Dale in Castleton is the start of the 46-mile walk to Rocester or in the opposite direction the 26-mile route to Matlock.
Continue up and this is where the dale really opens out. High above on your right, you’ll see Peveril Castle, you get a better view from further up the dale. Keep walking up the rocky terrain and then continue with the boundary wall on your right until you reach a small metal gate on your right.
Go through the gate, walk across tracks to another wooden gate. Continue past the fingerpost sign, following the Limestone Way sign (the green ram) heading slightly uphill bearing left towards another two gates close together.
This is now where you stop following the Limestone Way.
Stage 2 – Limestone Way to Mam Tor
Distance: 2 mile/3 km
Grid reference SK 13543 81304
Turn right through the gate and continue along a track for about 1.5 km, you’ll go over a stone stile then walk along past Rowter Farm on your right, where there’s a campsite. On a clear day, you’ll see Mam Tor up ahead!
At the road, go through the gate, turn right, cross the road then a few metres down the road turn left on the public footpath, following the boundary wall to the next road. Go through the gate and cross over the road to the gate on the opposite side which will take you up to the final section to the base of Mam Tor.
Follow the footpath as it gradually heads uphill, go through the gate, up a few steps, then through a gate on your right where you’ll see a sign for Mam Tor.
Walk up the stone steps as they head uphill to the summit of Mam Tor and eventually, you’ll reach the trig point marking Mam Tor’s summit at 517 metres. On a clear day, you’ll have views along the Great Ridge to Lose Hill and down across the Hope Valley.
Stage 3 – Mam Tor to Castleton
Distance: 2.2 miles/3.3 km
Grid reference SK 12770 83603
From Mam Tor summit there is a stone footpath leading down the other side towards the Great Ridge, ignore this and head east towards the edge of the hill. On a clear day, you’ll pick up the path easily but when the cloud comes down it may be more tricky to find. (If you reach the edge walk right until you find the path heading down).
Once you’re on the footpath you then follow the route downhill, admiring the views of Mam Tor’s landslides on your left as you descend. Keep walking until you reach the boundary fence, then turn left and walk until you reach the ‘Old Road’.
The road has been ripped apart by the landslides, you can still tell it’s a road but it’s no longer in use. Turn left and follow the road to the end through the gate then turn right and continue walking on the more established part of the road.
Continue as the road bends round, you’ll go past a small pond on the right, then shortly after you’ll see a sign for Odin Mine, it’s worth having a look from the outside of the cave but I don’t recommend going inside as it’s muddy and smells of sheep poo!
Back on the road look for a hidden footpath on your left, signposted Crushing Circle, go through the gate and walk down the path, across the small wooden bridge then follow the track to another gate.
Go thought here, then over a small wooden stile, down some steps through a gate then past a house and another gate, following Odin Stitch (a small brook).
Head across the fields, through another three gates then keep to the left-hand boundary until the next two stiles signposted to Castleton. Then through a small stone stile, another gate then follow the footpath towards the houses.
Be sure to look across to your right to see Winnats Pass and as you walk closer to Castleton you’ll see Peveril Castle. There’s one more small gate leading to a very narrow alleyway, down some steps and turn left to walk back to Castleton visitor centre.
Ask me any questions about the Cave Dale walk in the comments below.
Other options for this walk
Alternative route from Mam Tor
Not keen on doing the steep descent down from Mam Tor. You can descend via the more established footpath heading north via the cobblers and then flagstoned path. Walk all the way down to Hollins Cross (SK 13597 84520) a stone marker, with various different paths.
Go through the gate and take the path heading right, almost running parallel with the path you’ve walked down. You’ll then pick up the road at this point (SK 13247 83905) and will walk down the road path the pond and Odin Mine.
This option adds an extra 1 km on to the walk but is a more gradual descent with a better footpath. You can see the path on the map.
More walks in the Peak District
Looking for more routes from Castleton, Derbyshire? You might like these circular walks.
- Mam Tor + Lose Hill Walk From Castleton | 7-Mile Route
- Lose Hill Short Walk from Castleton | 5-mile Route
- Winnats Pass Walk From Castleton (+ Mam Tor) | 5-Mile Route
Or check out all our Peak District walking routes here
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